Date Published: 11/09/09
Haba! Only older men can afford to get married By Farouk Martins Aresa
Africans can teach the world about pulling yourself up with your bootstraps. That is where poor youngsters fare better later in life than their cohorts who are from wealthy families. No doubt, the fact is economy plays an important role in marriages and children upbringing but it is not the only factor. Many poor children still manage to distinguish themselves from their peers. In the western world, you can predict the future of the children by the location of their homes in the cities, postal or zip code. It is not so in Africa. In those days, if you see a beautiful house, one of us would say: No be there him papa born am o! That is, he worked hard to get there.
The days Nigerian men marry at their early twenties and thirties are disappearing fast mainly based on economic reasons. There are still a few young men out there willing to marry but the number of ladies ready to marry just for love without some deep pocket of his or hers’ are fading just as fast too. The only exceptions to this situation are young men and women from wealthy families. Unfortunately, those are at the very top of our social class. It used to be that the only way for poor boys to get approval to marry a rich girl was to get her pregnant. It would change the snobbishness of the girl’s parent. Sometimes we wait forever for the perfect person.
We all know that young men marry late and the censor statistics has just backed it up. Studies and statistical data are very important instead of relying on a hunch like some pastors. It is not a mystery that young men are not leaving home to establish on their own as early as they used to after college or high school. Good girls are not expected to leave home early until they marry. The days our parents farmed so hard to put their children through school, so that they can relax in their old age are passé. Indeed, we will be foolish to expect some children to care for us when they can hardly find jobs after graduations. Some parents just have to work longer.
Even in a two parents home, as we get older we succumbed to biology. The ideal time to have children is when we are young and virile. The best time for women to have babies is in their twenties but there may be important accomplishments in terms of education and career development that may tilt many women past their twenties into early thirties, than the call of nature for child bearing choice. Getting closer to forties come with some types of medical risk and complications associates with the life of both mother and child.
Men are not free of complications either, in spite of the notion that men can always impregnate at any age. Some women who studied men very well claimed that we reached our peaks in our early twenties too. After that we start falling asleep on the wheels, if you get what that means. Women should know because many disvirgined young men. Moreover, young families tend to enjoy their children longer if they are blessed with obedient and grateful ones.
So what can women do if men are waiting to save enough for marriage? Women tend to go for who is ready before they become leftovers. While in higher institutions, women should keep an eye open for students around their ages. Schools are not just for book knowledge; they are also an avenue for socialization, culture and interest. Other students may have to go for some more matured or younger men, as well as those senior to them.
If women come out of universities or higher institution without a prospect, the pressure is heavy especially from those who have been telling them to wait all these years. It is a confused message after telling them to remain good girls all these years, we suddenly turn around asking them when they are going to bring somebody home. At that stage, looking for an older man is no longer a matter of choice. The rational may boils down to a man that treats you as a darling than one that takes you for granted or worse still, none.
Older men come in different ages at this point depending on which is available. Amongst them are divorcees, those looking for second wives and those looking for friendship without marriage because of the fear of losing everything. There are also women divorcees looking for younger men as friends because they do not want to give up life savings in another marriage either. The solution is finding the right key for the right lock as no situation can fit exactly into your shoes.
Nevertheless, young men and women are still having children without a home together or even commitment to one another. If the censor statistics is right, we still have large young population some of whom are not living with both parents. Africans rely very much on extended families, so it is not unusual to have grandparent or close relatives looking after the children. The same is also true in many families where both parents are living together as moms and pops have to work to make ends meet.
If our children are not cared for by relatives with good family values or both parents, we may be preparing for children who never have the benefit and cooperation of close family relationship at home. Some of these homes, known as single parent homes, can barely command the discipline necessary for moms’ order to be reinforced by dads’ presence. Yes, arguments have been made that two disgruntled parents are worse than a loving single family home.
Whatever way we look at it, the real advantage is that it takes more than a single parent to raise a child. A child in those days knew when and where to misbehave because a neighbor is just as good in setting him straight as any of the parents. But if we cannot take care of our own children, there is little we can do to help others. The older and more successful we get, the more responsibilities we carry in Africa. Not only towards our extended families, but to others.
The greatest fear for young men is plugging themselves into responsibilities they do not think they can handle. With more available young men and women living liberally, it leads to procrastination, and fear of unknown that can dim their confidence while sperms and eggs become less virile.